Surname change after divorce
According to legal terminology, a personal name consists of a first name and a surname, which means that surname is part of the personal name of every individual. In our work with clients, we often encounter the problem of not knowing the term PERSONAL NAME and what is meant by that term, so it is important to make this distinction right at the beginning.
What is a personal name?
Accordingly, the personal name of every individual consists of the first and last name, the personal name is a fact that is written down in the register of births right after the birth, and in accordance with the provisions of the Family Law of the Republic of Serbia (hereinafter: Family Law), everyone is obliged to use their personal name.
The eleventh part of the mentioned law is devoted to the personal name, but the relevant provisions on the personal name can also be found in the Law on Civil Records, and in the Instructions on Keeping Civil Records and Forms of Civil Records. The procedure of changing the personal name itself is carried out according to the provisions of the Law on General Administrative Procedure.
Since the Pavleski law firm is specialized in the field of family law and family relations, a big part of our practice are divorces. Therefore, after the divorce is completed, it often happens that clients ask us the following – How to change my last name after divorce?
After the divorce is completed, we always advise clients to start the procedure of changing the surname, i.e. “returning the maiden name“, as soon as possible, in order to take the legal possibility of changing the surname according to the so-called abbreviated procedure.
Namely, the provision of Article 348 of the Family Law stipulates the following: “A spouse who changed his surname upon marriage may take the surname he had before marriage, within 60 days from the date of termination of marriage.”
This particular provision is often misinterpreted by clients, so clients conclude that after the expiration of this deadline, a change of surname is no longer possible. However, this is not so. In other words, this provision does not prevent a person who wants to change his/her surname from doing so even after the specified deadline has passed (therefore, the surname can be changed later), but only gives him/her the opportunity to change his/her surname as efficiently as possible if he/she acts in accordance with the deadline set by FL.
Where to apply for change of the surname after a divorce?
The request to change the personal name – in this case the surname, shall be submitted by the person who wants to change the surname. The request itself must be submitted to the municipal administration in which the applicant has residence or temporary residence.
What documentation is required for a surname change after a divorce?
With the request itself, the person who changes the surname is obliged to submit other required documentation, namely:
- an identity card
- an executive decision on divorce
- proof of payment of the administrative fee.
To decide on the request, with the above listed documentation, it is necessary to submit:
- a certificate of citizenship
- a certificate of residence
- as well as a birth certificate
- marriage certificate.
However, regarding this second group of listed documentation, there is a legally prescribed obligation of the acting authority to obtain the documentation ex officio.Namely, the provision of Article 9 paragraph 3 of the Law on General Administrative Procedure stipulates that the authority is, in accordance with the law, ex officio obliged, to inspect the data on facts necessary for decision-making, which are kept in official records, to obtain and process them.
This further means that the acting authority would be obliged to obtain the above-mentioned documentation by official means, unless the applicant expressly declares that he/she will obtain the necessary documentation himself/herself. Therefore, it is up to the applicant to decide whether he/she will obtain the necessary documentation himself/herself or whether he/she will agree with obtaining the necessary documentation by official means.
What are the steps after applying for a surname change?
After all the documentation has been obtained and properly submitted with the request, the acting authority checks the validity of the request and the submitted documentation. If the request is valid, the authority decides on the change of personal name. After the decision is made, the authority is obliged to inform the competent registrar about the change to register the change of personal name – in this case the surname, in the register of births and register of marriages.
Namely, in accordance with the Instructions on Keeping Civil Records and Forms of Civil Records, the spouse who changed his/her surname upon marriage, and after the termination of the marriage took the surname he/she had before the marriage, in the register of births, in the section “Subsequent entries and notes” , the note is written: “He/She took the last name he/she had before the marriage…” (surname before the marriage, name and seat of the authority, number and date of the document on which bases the registration is made)”.